Dulce de Leche:
Place the milk, sugar, corn
syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy-duty 8 quart (8 liter) saucepan or Dutch oven. Place
over medium high heat and bring just to a boil. Watch carefully, and as soon as
the milk begins to foam up, stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, and
reduce heat until the milk is just at a low rolling boil. Continue to cook
the milk, stirring the bottom and sides of the saucepan frequently, until the
mixture becomes very thick and sticky and caramel colored (this will take about 40 - 60
minutes). It is important to frequently stir the milk so it does not
Note: There are
several stages the milk goes through during the cooking process. When the milk
first comes to a boil
there is a lot of foam. Eventually the foam subsides and after about 15
minutes, the milk turns a light beige color. As it continues to cook, the milk
thickens and gets darker in color. Once the Dulce de Leche has been reduced to about 1
1/4 cups (300 ml) remove from heat
and strain. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before covering and storing. The Dulce
de Leche can be stored in the fridge for a month.
a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter
until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the
vanilla extract. Gently beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough
for at least an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in
the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough
it is about 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick.
Using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place on the baking sheets and place in the
about 15 minutes. (This will firm the cookies so they maintain
their shape when baked.) Bake for about 7 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are
brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
Shortbread cookies with keep
in an airtight container for about a week.
Alfajores: Take two shortbread cookies and sandwich them together with a
heaping teaspoon of Dulce de Leche. Sprinkle the
tops of the cookies with confectioners sugar. Can be covered and stored for a
few days in the refrigerator.
Makes about 24